This weekend is Father's Day and we wish all of our parish fathers and grandfathers a very special day! Dads and grandfathers are so often the unsung heroes of our families, whose sacrifices are taken for granted. This weekend we have a wonderful opportunity to thank them for the irreplaceable role they have in our lives. Last year, on Father's Day, we dedicated a statue of Saint Joseph in honor of the living and deceased fathers and grandfathers of Christ the King Parish. May Saint Joseph intercede for all fathers and may God richly bless them on this Father's Day - and always!
This week we mark another important celebration that is also often times overlooked. Friday, June 19, is 'Juneteenth.' It marks the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, to announce the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery in the United States. While President Lincoln's Emancipation Act had been made two years earlier, and the Civil War had officially ended in April of 1865 with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate States, the good news of the official end of slavery and of the Civil War only reached enslaved persons in distant Texas with the arrival of General Granger and his troops on June 19, 1865. We can only imagine that celebration!
Many people, including myself, had never heard of' Juneteenth'. If we think about it, we have to ask ourselves, "How is that possible?" President Lincoln called the end of the abhorrible institution of slavery a 'new birth' for our country. The end of the institution of slavery, in a country that was founded on the premise that all men and women are created equal, deserves a national holiday. A celebration marking the end of slavery should be something that unites all Americans as we continually strive to build that more perfect union that is the United States of America.
Friday, June 19, is also the celebration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Saint Daniel Comboni, the great Apostle of Africa, tells us that the heart of Jesus is a heart that beats with love for all people. That the Feast of the Sacred Heart and Juneteenth fall on the same day this particular year is more than a happy coincidence.
Sunday, June 21, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar of Christ the King from 2:00 - 5:00 pm. At 5:00 pm we will celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament with a Prayer Service for Racial Justice and Reconciliation. In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament we will listen to scripture readings, the letter that Pope Francis has written to the Church in America and a reflection from Archbishop Thompson addressed to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. It will be an opportunity for us to listen with our ears and our hearts and to commit ourselves to turn away from the sin of racism in the many forms that it takes.
Finally, beginning Monday of this coming week, the Adoration Chapel will once again be open for prayer, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The code to enter the chapel remains the same. Anyone needing the code is invited to call the Parish Office. As the Adoration Chapel becomes available to us once again, I encourage all parishioners and parish families of Christ the
King to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament a weekly practice as a way of recognizing and honoring the abiding presence of Jesus among us in this great Sacrament of our Church.
See you at Mass - indoors, outdoors or virtually!